National Book Award finalist Tommye Blount to participate in Visiting Writers Series
March 21, 2022
Writer and poet Tommye Blount will participate in Virginia Tech’s Visiting Writers Series on Wednesday, March 23.
Blount will read from his recent collection, “Fantasia for the Man in Blue,” which was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award — one of the country’s most prestigious literary prizes. The reading will be held at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Moss Arts Center.
The titular poem, “Fantasia for the Man in Blue,” turns a Black man’s late-night walk into an encounter with a police officer which is fraught with both danger and eroticism. Blount transcribes his father’s autopsy report, writes of Icarus doing the dishes, and resurrects Luther Vandross to reflect on a life divided between public persona and closeted gayness.
According to publisher Four Way Books, Blount’s poetry “orchestrates a chorus of distinct, unforgettable voices that speak to the experience of the Black, queer body as a site of desire and violence.”
The National Book Foundation said Blount’s vision is “circumspect, clarified by empathy, and his poems simultaneously evoke and illustrate astonishment and understanding, outrage and compassion.”
The event is free and open to the public, and sponsored by Virginia Tech's MFA Program in Creative Writing, and the Department of English. The reading will be followed by a brief Q&A, with copies of the book available for purchase on location through the Virginia Tech bookstore.